Crossgar Nurse Emily McCurry Remembered

District Nurse Emily McCurry’s Life Celebrated in New Exhibition at Down County Museum

District Nurse Emily McCurry’s Life Celebrated in New Exhibition at Down County Museum

An exhibition is now open to honour the long service of District Nurse Emily McCurry to her community of Crossgar.

It is almost exactly 78 years since nurse, Emily McCurry began her three-decade tenure as District Nurse.

To mark her incredible career, an exhibition celebrating her life of service is now open at Down County Museum – ‘Nurse Emily McCurry: A Life of Service’.

On 1 December 1944, Emily McCurry stepped off the 11.30am train in Crossgar, County Down to take up her post as the area’s new District Nurse, a position she would hold for the next three decades. 

At the opening of the exhibition, Newry Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Michael Savage said: “As someone who grew up with the benefit of a district nurse, who worked hand-in-hand with local GPs, I know their importance in the fostering of a sense of community and cohesion.

“This exhibition represents an important snapshot of local history and showcases the role of the museum in collecting and displaying important local stories.”

Nurse Emily McCurry who was a district nurse for 30 years in Crossgar.

In her first year, she recorded 6,301 calls, making most of her house visits on bicycle.

Until her retirement in 1973 she provided support in surgical, medical, maternity, child welfare and antenatal care.

A well-known figure in the Crossgar area, her devotion to nursing was celebrated at an event in January 1970 where it was remarked: “She comes into each household and gives unreservedly of her whole being, taking nothing away but the simple love and affection of us all…”

The display features photography, uniform and archives, which help to put Emily’s life of service into context with the development of nursing in the 20th century.

The completed exhibition case at the Emily McCurry exhibition at Down County Museum.

Down County Museum’s Assistant Curator, Alan Freeburn said: “I know that Nurse McCurry’s legacy and immeasurable impact on the community of Crossgar is still widely felt. 

“At the recent launch of Crossgar Historical Society, a number of hands shot up around the room to say they or a relative were delivered by her or to share stories about and connections to her.

“Healthcare has been very much in the forefront of our minds in recent years, but this exhibition shines a light on the important role that nursing has played over a long time.

“Through focussing on one woman and her more than thirty years serving her community, we can reflect with gratitude on the value of others who choose to dedicate themselves to caring for people.”

The exhibition will be available for viewing in the Museum’s Community Gallery from Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00am to 4.30pm.

A book had been placed in the gallery for people to record their reflections or memories of Emily McCurry and contributions would be very welcome.